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Minnesota Unemployment Eligibility

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you need to meet the following requirements.

Non Monetary Eligibility

Unemployed through no fault of your own.

  • Be able and willing to begin suitable work without delay when offered.
  • Laid off or have been subject to working hours less than 32 hours a week.
  • Quit for “good cause” such as unsafe working conditions, not receiving payment for your work, to care for a terminally ill spouse or minor child etc.
  • You must also meet weekly eligibility requirements to receive benefits.

Monetary Eligibility

Have sufficient earnings in your base period –

Your benefits are based on the amount of earnings (gross wages) paid to you from all employers during a recent 52-week period of time called Base period. A base period consists of 4 calendar quarters. Gross wages are your earnings before any reductions. Commissions, bonuses, overtime, vacation pay, severance pay (depending on timing) and wages earned in other states are included. However, self-employment earnings are usually not included.

Minimum earnings required in the base period –

  • Wages of at least $1,000 in one calendar quarter and
  • Wages totaling at least $250 in the other three quarters.
  • An over all minimum earnings in the base period must be $1250 or more.

Please note that there is a non-paying week or waiting week during which you will not receive any benefit amount. This is usually the first week after you apply for benefits. During this period, all your documents will be verified before stating your eligibility status. It is wise to apply for benefits without any delay.

These happen to be the initial requirements. Once you qualify for unemployment benefits, weekly benefit requirements need to be fulfilled to receive benefit amount.

Eligibility Questions

The reason for the separation from your employment could make you ineligible to receive benefits even if you have enough wages in your base period to establish a benefit account. The state chooses to pay eligibility benefits to individuals who have lost job through no fault of their own but each case of unemployment is different and you may want to apply for unemployment to know if you qualify.

Can I avail Unemployment benefits if I quit my job?

In Minnesota, applicants who quit their job are not eligible unless the quit falls into one of the following categories:

  • Your spouse’s job location changed.
  • Domestic abuse at work place.
  • Quit before a notified lay off
  • Unsuitable work / work environment
  • Quit within 30 days of employment as the work was unsuitable
  • Quit to enter full-time reemployment assistance training
  • Quit due to serious illness or to care for a terminally ill spouse or minor child etc.

Will I receive unemployment benefits if I were fired?

If you were discharged for employment misconduct, you are ineligible to receive unemployment benefit payments. Employment misconduct means any intentional or negligent conduct that –

  • Displays clearly a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee or
  • Displays clearly a substantial lack of concern for the employment.

You might still be able to claim benefits if you were fired for the following reasons :

  • Absence because of illness or injury with proper notice to the employer
  • Inability to meet the employer’s performance standards
  • Ordinary errors or accidents, not due to carelessness or negligence
  • Inefficiency
  • Honest mistakes or omissions

Does unemployment due to labor disputes affect my eligibility for unemployment benefits?

Applicants who leave employment because they are participating in a strike or are a member of a striking union at the establishment where they were employed, are not eligible to receive benefit payment during the strike. Participation includes the failure or refusal to accept and perform available and customary work at the establishment where they were employed.

You can be possibly eligible under following circumstances –

  • Unemployed because of a strike caused by an employer’s willful failure to observe the terms of the safety and health section of a union contract.
  • Unemployed because of a lockout.
  • Laid off due to a strike against the employer (in this case, the applicant is ineligible through the end of the week in which the strike begins).

I am furloughed intermittently. Will I be eligible for a benefit account?

To reduce costs, some employers require workers to take time off without pay. Here, the applicant was willing to work but was laid off by the company as it was unable to bear the costs due to lack of work. Under such situations, you are almost eligible for unemployment benefits.

Tips for workers being furloughed:

  • You may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if you are temporarily or intermittently laid off or your hours are reduced below 32 hours per week.
  • Apply for UI benefits during the first week you are laid off or your hours are reduced below 32 hours per week. You cannot backdate the application. You could lose benefits if you wait to apply.
  • Every applicant for UI benefits must serve a non-payable week before they can receive any payments. Your nonpayable week is the first week you are eligible to receive a benefit payment. To be eligible, you must apply, request a benefit payment, and meet the requirements of unemployment insurance.
  • For intermittent (recurring) layoffs, it is probably best to continue to request benefit payments even when you are working your normal schedule. Report the hours you worked and the gross amount (before taxes or any other deductions) of your wages. Payments will be issued for the weeks you are laid off or hours are reduced and no payment will be made when you are working your normal schedule.

Once you are eligible for a benefit account, move on to the next step to know what the  requirements are which need to be fulfilled each week to receive your payments.

Need to know more about Minnesota Unemployment, check our Q&A Section and Calculator.

Know more in detail about eligibility.
Have a question on eligibility? Click here.
Click here to apply for eligibility benefits.

Questions & Answers

  1. Rod Krause says:

    I live in Wi and work in MN – who do I collect unemployment from if laid off. Thanks

  2. clab says:

    I am finishing up a year long contract with a company; just to be clear.
    I am not eligible to collect unemployment while I look for another job?

    • Sam says:

      If your last job was on Contract, you may not be eligible.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

    • CLT says:

      If you were working a contract job no a W-2 basis, you CAN collect unemployment in MN! Contact the MN Unemployment office directly for help. If you didn’t work a full year, you may get more benefits by waiting a few weeks or up to a month before you apply, due to the weird way they calculate the benefit amount.

  3. Sylvia Rude says:

    I worked only for 5 months, made over 1,000, last year but was unjustly terminated 2/19/17. Do I have enough time in to apply for U.I.?

  4. evanna says:

    I am a real estate agent in MN. Fired due to “judgement issues” or being 80 years old which is more likely. Am I eligible for unemployment?

    • Sam says:

      Were you on contract or on the payroll? Your eligibility depends on multiple factors.

      Please contact the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  5. lisa says:

    I worked full=time for a company for 20 yrs- then was fired. found a job in different field- worked 3 months then laid off. can I qualify?

  6. Kat says:

    I am currently at a job where I have been accused of adding time to my time card, having a no call no show (I wasn’t on the schedule which I have a picture of as proof), and have been written up for stealing without any proof (I know he has no proof because I didn’t do it). He refuses to fire me because he doesn’t want to have to pay unemployment, would I be able to collect unemployment if I quit for these reasons.

    • Martin says:

      Well, the burden of proof is on you. If you quit due to hostile working conditions, the employer may raise a dispute during claims processing.

      During that time, you will be required to offer supporting documents. If you’re confident, please get ready.

  7. Denise says:

    As the job became something I could no longer perform to meet their performance requirements due to the Co taking staff from me for budget cuts, I mentally and physically could not longer stay at the job. I decided I had to leave or deal with medical issues on my part.

    Although I am actively looking for work – do I have the option to apply for UI until I can find a job for my skill set and pay level?

    • Martin says:

      Well, UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job involuntarily. However, there are exceptions.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  8. Sue says:

    I will soon be ending a 5-month contract employment assignment, and it may take a while to find another one. I was unemployed during the year preceding this. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits when this contract ends?

    • Martin says:

      Contracted employees are generally not eligible to receive Unemployment Compensation.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details.

  9. Nicole says:

    May I receive UI during a 6-week Maternity Leave?

  10. Margaret Klapperich says:

    I was at my employer for 38 years when I was laid off. I got a lump sum severance payment. Will that affect my unemployment?

  11. Wayne says:

    The business I work for has a new owwner and now after 6 months working for the new owner they want me to sign a non compete agreement, plus are cutting my salary and also some benefits. If I quit this job would I be elgible for unemployment benefits? also .. What if they fire me for not signing the non compete? Would I then be elgible for unemployment benefits?

    • Martin says:

      In both the cases, its quite a fragile situation. UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for precise information.

  12. Ryan says:

    If I quit my job because of physical threats from another employee will I still be eligible for unemployment benefits?

  13. Pam Moyer says:

    My wages at my present job are being cut from $19.70 per hour to $15.00 per hour. If I quit this job so I have time to look for a different job would I qualify for unemployment? I was told a year ago that I was going to be laid off, that didn’t happen, but a year later my wages are being reduced.

    • Martin says:

      If you quit by yourself, you will not be eligible to draw Unemployment Benefits.

      If there is a reduction in the standard hours worked, you can claim.

  14. Josie says:

    My employer in MN fired me then fabricated an email to DEED stating that I had voluntarily resigned. I never sent that email nor did I resign. I came in one day and they told me it was my last. Because of their fraudulent email, I am unable to get unemployment. I don’t have money to sue them but I would like to at least file a complaint against my former employer since they are doing something illegal. Who or what department would I send a complaint to?

    • Martin says:

      Please file an appeal with the adjudicator.

      The details will be available on the official website of the labor department in your state.

  15. John Jeratowski says:

    I was recently laid of from my employer in South Dakota after 6 years with them. My last job for them was in Minnesota. I paid Minnesota taxes for my hours on that job as well. I am just wondering if I would be eligible to claim Unemployment from Minnesota or not? Thanks!

  16. Yvette bozeman says:

    How long do you have to be employed to be eligible for unemployment?

  17. Mike says:

    I am an airline pilot and my employer has informed me that I am being involuntarily displaced from Minneapolis to New York, NY. Must I accept the transfer or can I decline/resign and collect unemployment until finding new employment?

    • Adrian says:

      Any voluntary reasons for separation from the job may not be accepted when you apply for UI benefits in your state.

  18. Brad says:

    My employer has plenty of work for me, but we haven’t been able to work 2-3 days every week due to the cold weather. Would I qualify for partial unemployment benefits?

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